Federations seeking expressions of interest as Walking Football becomes a reality

Conjured in 2011 by Chesterfield FC in England, Walking Football is a modified version of the beautiful game, designed to keep people active no matter their age or fitness limitations.

Now, after the original announcement of the joint initiative between the Australian Federal Government and Football Federation Australia in January, a national Walking Football program has been rolled out across the country, with the full support of all nine state/territory Member Federations.

With over 800 clubs now registered in the United Kingdom, the less intense version of the game has proven a resounding success. With a particular emphasis on the physical fitness benefits of remaining active throughout middle-age and well into the retirement years, the potential health and social benefits are considerable.

The Federal Government has invested in those potential benefits for all Australians as they move into their senior years. It developed the Move it Aus – Better Ageing grant program, to which FFA successfully applied and the initiative was officially launched earlier in the year at Perth’s Inglewood United Soccer Club.

Months of financial, structural and logistical planning by governing bodies across the nation followed. Such diligence was required in order to bring the vision to life and provide the vehicle to potentially connect or reconnect older Australians to football; allowing them to enjoy the thrill of hitting the back of the net, regardless of the power behind the shot.

Along with the intention of keeping fans involved in the game no matter their age, Walking Football also stands to be a valuable community activity; providing support and networking opportunities for many older Australians.

Often widowed or isolated through family fragmentation, many crave the sense of community so often taken for granted by those still in the work force and/or actively socialising.

Walking Football stands to be a valuable activity, shared by like-minded people, seeking a social and physical outlet.

In addition, the initiative will provide new comers with the opportunity to enjoy the game of football without fear of injury or intimidation, with one foot remaining on the ground at all times and no slide tackles permitted.

Played on a smaller pitch and with reduced numbers (either 5×5 or 6×6), the game has been backed to the tune of A$1.8 million dollars. After the initial January announcement, Federations across the nation have spent immense time and energy in planning its implementation.

Now, with Australia’s summer season of football about to begin, it is time for those interested to act. An introductory video can be found at;

www.playfootball.com.au/ffa-walking-football?_ga=2.36150688.1872285948.1569278807-591840370.1569278807.

The short clip explains the basic principles behind not only the modified version of the game but also the major health and social benefits available to those interested in participating.

All contact details and the means to express interest and enrol can be found using the same link.

Thankfully, I am still able to enjoy the game at full speed. However, as we are all well aware, human bones begin to make some rather disturbing sounds as the years advance. Muscles tighten and our ability to run continuously for any length of time does wane.

As such, Walking Football looms as a potentially rewarding activity for those with a passion for the game, hoping to enjoy its complexity well into their advanced years.

Perhaps more importantly, it will also provide a space to talk about the game, relive the past and celebrate football in a supportive community that strengthens not only the body but also the spirit.

Staff Writer
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Dandenong Thunder to enjoy $700,000 LED lighting upgrade at George Andrews Reserve

Dandenong Thunder lighting upgrade

Greater Dandenong Council and Dandenong Thunder have recently confirmed that works have commenced for new powerful lighting towers to be built at George Andrews Reserve.

The upgrade will cost $700,000 and is being jointly funded by Greater Dandenong Council ($500,000) and the State Government ($200,000) with a plan to improve the ground’s overall quality for both training and matches. They formerly had 200-lux LED towers and they will be replaced by 500-lux towers.

For the Greater Dandenong local council, the focus was to improve the facility for the community to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits through the increased amount of playable hours at the reserve.

Importantly, the project ensures that the Thunder have a ground that is up to professional competition and broadcast standards which means they can broadcast and host games that are viewed by a national audience, a huge step forward for the NPL Victoria club.

This broadcast upgrade also opens up the possibility to expand to national matches involving the Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City A-League women’s teams and an even more ambitious goal of hosting a Matildas game. The ground can easily hold 5000 people and the lighting and broadcasting standards will be fantastic after this upgrade.

Dandenong Thunder shared the positive implications this light upgrade has for the club.

“The new lights mean the club will be able to host a number of games, not only that but it’s a step forward to the clubs ambition to be part of the NSD (national second division),” a club spokesperson told Soccerscene.

“The support from local council has been nothing but fantastic, Dandenong want to be a sporting hub for the south east suburbs.

“With the FA cup we have seen A-League clubs play at local level clubs, having these new high powered lights we will be able to broadcast at a higher quality, no more yellow light broadcast.”

This news presents an exciting future for Dandenong Thunder and the matches played at George Andrews Reserve. The quality of training, matches and broadcasts has improved tenfold and it matches the size of the NPL Victoria side that have big ambitions.

CPKC and Kansas City Current’s major stadium naming rights deal a win for women’s sport

CPKC Stadium design

The world’s first professional female-football dedicated stadium – home of the NWSL’s Kansas City Current – will be known as CPKC Stadium, after an historic naming rights deal was agreed with the North American rail network company.

Formed as a merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern rail networks in July this year, CPKC represents the first trans-North American rail network between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

CPKC has been a leading investor for women’s sports in the state of Kansas, and CPKC President & CEO, Keith Creel, was proud to announce the stadium naming rights deal.

“We are incredibly proud to sponsor the Kansas City Current and support this history-making project here in the city that is at the heart of our North American rail network,” Creel said via press release.

“CPKC has been a long-time champion of women’s sports and of investing in our communities. This stadium and this partnership with the Current will build on that legacy as together we write a new chapter here in Kansas City.”

CPKC will also hold naming rights to the stadium’s outdoor space for fans, which will be known as CPKC Plaza. This area provides entertainment for all CPKC Stadium attendees, including the KC Current’s official merchandise store.

It is hoped that the naming rights deal will kickstart further investment in women’s football across the region, which has been the cornerstone of the KC Current’s existence according to co-founders and owners, Angie and Chris Long.

“Our [KC Current & CPKC] organisations share a commitment to strive for excellence, invest heavily in our communities and raise the bar with global influence. We are extremely excited to work with CPKC on this historic agreement and know our partnership will create a long-standing positive impact!”

Further to its substantial investment in women’s football, CPKC’s establishment of a direct line between Canada, the United States and Mexico is expected to have substantial benefits for football supporters attending the 2026 Men’s FIFA World Cup.

Presently, though, the stadium naming rights deal demonstrates CPKC’s intention to be a key investor in women’s football across Kansas and North America.

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